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Arriflex d-21 useful in 2017?


Jay Young
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I have been trying to find a digital camera with a less sensitive sensor.

 

Three years ago the D-21 was exclaimed to be "more film like" even against the Alexa. Perhaps the new SXT model has gone beyond that claim.

 

Do those who used the camera feel it vould still be useful? Im shooting a show right now and lighting at asa 100 and 200 around T4/5.6. Mostly tungsten, with a tow plant its not an issue.

 

The D-21 seems to check all the boxes for my personal tastes in a camera: 2K, optical viewfinder, spinning shutter, low base iso.

 

I assume I could throw an SDI 2k recorder onboard and go? Im certainly not going HDCAM tape these days.

 

I guess no one shootes like me, and I dont get hired to shoot like everyone else. I assume its going to be hard to find openminded thoughs pn the subject, but I figured I would ask here, where the experience is.

 

When I first watched Downton Abbey, I thought it was a 35 millimeter show. It was not until two years later that I learned that it was a digital show, and it was not until last year that I learned that it was first shot on the D21.

 

I guess the real question is, if I have the power and the lighting units available and the D21 gives me the image that I like, why not use it?

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The weight, necessity of external recording, and requirement for 24v (I think) battery power, could make it a bit frustrating. But it certainly seems capable of creating nice imagery.

And having an Alexa Studio now, I can certainly vouch for the delightfulness of having an optical viewfinder for operating.

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  • 1 month later...

I have been trying to find a digital camera with a less sensitive sensor.

 

Three years ago the D-21 was exclaimed to be "more film like" even against the Alexa. Perhaps the new SXT model has gone beyond that claim.

 

Do those who used the camera feel it vould still be useful? Im shooting a show right now and lighting at asa 100 and 200 around T4/5.6. Mostly tungsten, with a tow plant its not an issue.

 

The D-21 seems to check all the boxes for my personal tastes in a camera: 2K, optical viewfinder, spinning shutter, low base iso.

 

I assume I could throw an SDI 2k recorder onboard and go? Im certainly not going HDCAM tape these days.

 

I guess no one shootes like me, and I dont get hired to shoot like everyone else. I assume its going to be hard to find openminded thoughs pn the subject, but I figured I would ask here, where the experience is.

 

When I first watched Downton Abbey, I thought it was a 35 millimeter show. It was not until two years later that I learned that it was a digital show, and it was not until last year that I learned that it was first shot on the D21.

 

I guess the real question is, if I have the power and the lighting units available and the D21 gives me the image that I like, why not use it?

Hi there,

 

I just wanted to say I am looking for the same thing actually, wondering if it is still useable.

 

I tend to shoot a lot of film still, and I think it would be a good alternative for me, keeping the same limitations as film, while still shooting digital. Regardless, I don't really know of performance at 500 ISO, if it can output 444 through one SDI (because my recorder is 6g) and so on.

C

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  • 2 months later...

I have bought and sold 15 D-21’s. I love this camera! The D-21 has some unique imaging characteristics when compared to the Alexa.This comes from the way the D-21’s auto defect pixel correction and auto black balance works.

As the mechanical shutter closes the camera compares the blanked out frame to a stored reference black and a defect pixel map. A correction mask is generated and applied to the subsequent frame. This algorithm produces a “random” film like grain. The colorametry is virtually the same as the Alexa but there is a more pronounced horizontal smear and slightly less dynamic range.

 

There are several notable drawbacks to the D-21 in 2017 that should be considered.

1-The ISO is 200.

2-There is no internal recording.

3-Arriraw generated by the D-21 is unique. The Codex-M and the S.two OB-1 are the only reliable devices that can record this format. The Codex-S has D-21 menus but only accepts 3G input. D-21 only outputs 1.5G single, dual and quad link. (WTF Codex-S?)

4-The 12 bit D-21 Arriraw can only be debarred using the Arri ARC software and only allows output as massive DPX 10 or 16 bit files. (Resolve and Premier can work with DPX. The former can generate proxies to edit with and both can generate compressed prores options).

5-Though the sensor is 4:3 (2880 x 2160) and made to do anamorphic, like most Arri cameras you end up with a 2.66:1 image. So you need to crop down to 2.39:1 Unless you record D-21 Arriraw 2880x2160 you will dip below 1080 when cropped.

6-Most menus (white balance) must be accessed through a standard def. output.

 

Sooo, while the D-21 is an cool camera and makes beautiful images particularly in anamorphic, it is not plug and play. Simplest way to go? Get a Prores recorder and shoot HD. Thats basically how they did “Downton Abby.”

 

 

“Arriflex D-21 2017 practicality" is in the timeline of the beholder.

Edited by mark mervis
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  • 4 months later...

Sooo, while the D-21 is an cool camera and makes beautiful images particularly in anamorphic, it is not plug and play. Simplest way to go? Get a Prores recorder and shoot HD. Thats basically how they did “Downton Abby.”

So how would you easily do that, can you capture ProRes HQ from a single SDI output? Such as with an Atomos / BMD / etc recorder?

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Hi there,

I have got one D21 too and I love this little camera! Optical viewfinder with Arriglow is absolutely fantastic thing. You can even follow focus with it easily.

What I like is how good white balance system works - camera is in changing temperature (like from -5 to +25 Celsius), there is infrared polution, sun is changing - you just hit 5600k and it still looks, as it should look like! Although, we all know it is not just fixed at 5600k, but it is constantly shifting a little bit.

I don't know how it's done WB in Alexa, but on RED's and Blackmagic's cameras it definitely don't works like that.

 

The dynamic range (10 stops) and ASA 200 is a little drawback in 2017. And with sensitivity, for day exterior I rate it as 200, but for interior I use 125 or 100 rating for better noise floor.

 

Have anyone used anamorphic viewfinder with the camera ?

I'm trying to buy one for years, but that thing is no-one selling. I don't know, if it's the same viewfinder as for 535 (Arri AVF-1), or it is some special piece ?

 

Also I can't attach optical videoassit from my 435, there is some small missing piece to connect video camera (attached to the viewfinder system), to the side unit (Arri IVS-1), could someone help me with these ?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I believe the D20 and D21 had a mechanical port on the side that allowed the operator to hand crank the camera much like you could with the Arri 435. I've been looking for footage that came from the obscure option but with no luck.

 

Anybody in the know who has handcranked a D-21, I'd love to hear you chime in. Does it really look like classically handcranked film?

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  • 1 month later...

Still very useful in 2018. I have one and I've directed a feature film that was shot with it. Its a great camera, if you are willing to put up with the low ISO. Has its own unique look that I don't think any other camera has.

You can see what we it looks like here.

Edited by Hale Mednick
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Still very useful in 2018. I have one and I've directed a feature film that was shot with it. Its a great camera, if you are willing to put up with the low ISO. Has its own unique look that I don't think any other camera has.

You can see what we it looks like here.

Ikonoskop!!! Class

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Still very useful in 2018. I have one and I've directed a feature film that was shot with it. Its a great camera, if you are willing to put up with the low ISO. Has its own unique look that I don't think any other camera has.

You can see what we it looks like here.

 

 

Hale,

 

Looks great! I'm sold. Gonna try to find one.

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